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By Jim Shilander

Residents of Talega went before the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees April 23 asking the board to reduce their tax levy based on a 2006 refinancing. It appears they’ll be coming back again.

At the recommendation of district staff, the board voted unanimously to continue collecting 125 percent of the annual installments on the development’s Mello-Roos bond, with the provision that it would vote, on an annual basis, to return excess funds to taxpayers.

Residents previously asked the board eliminate so-called “pay-as-you-go” elements in the bond, which they said resulted in tens of millions in additional taxes being sent to the district from the development that had not been previously returned to taxpayers. The money was either held in district coffers or used for maintenance and building projects outside the scope of the CFD.

A motion to end pay-as-you-go was defeated, 4-2, after board members expressed concern such a move could have major consequences for other Mello-Roos districts.

As he had previously, Trustee John Alpay, the board’s president, recused himself from the discussion due to his ownership of property in Talega.

The next vote to return funds will likely come in August.

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